The Red Sox and Indians discussed slugger Edwin Encarnacion in trade talks earlier this winter, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The talks died in their infancy due to Boston’s reluctance to part with outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
Boston has been considered the favorite to sign free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez all winter, so the news that they were interested in another right-handed slugger comes as no surprise. Encarnacion, who at this point is most suited to fill a DH role, would not mean the Sox would part with an outfielder in a trade, making Bradley Jr. a bad fit.
Encarnacion, who just turned 35, is owed over $45 million over the next two seasons and can be had for a third season (his age-37 campaign) for an additional $15 million. He had a strong season in 2017, owning an .881 OPS and 38 homers in 157 games for Cleveland.
Boston and Cleveland could re-visit these talks at some point before Opening Day, especially after news that Martinez is “fed up” in negotiations with Boston. It’s unclear if the Red Sox would be willing to part with Bradley Jr. in a potential Encarnacion trade, though it would seem to indicate that the club was desperate for a power hitter if they were.